300 mercenaries loyal to Haftar left Libya

France announces departure of 300 mercenaries from eastern Libya

Around 300 foreign mercenaries have left eastern Libya, according to a statement by the French Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.

The move, initially announced in November by Haftar’s forces, was intended to stimulate a United Nations-backed agreement struck between the warring sides in the conflict through a joint military commission.

“This first withdrawal has taken place, which constitutes a positive first signal after the Nov. 12 conference,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anne-Claire Legendre said, referring to a Paris meeting that was aimed at breaking the deadlock in Libya.

“It must now be followed up with the implementation as quickly as possible of a complete process for the withdrawal of mercenaries, foreign fighters and foreign forces.”

She did not say when the mercenaries had left or where they were from. Diplomats have said the departing mercenaries were from neighboring Chad.

The withdrawal comes after efforts to lead Libya into elections at the end of December were thrown into disarray when the country’s electoral commission said a vote could not take place, citing what it called inadequacies in the electoral legislation and the judicial appeals process.

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